Tuesday, July 06, 2004

How do you say goodbye?

I use Instant Messengers, several of them, even though I don't like shortcuts and acronyms by nature. Luckily, I type fast.

But there are some funny social aspects to it that suggest that it's a technology in its infancy. Take the issue of "saying goodbye".... There is no convention for this yet on IM. I do it differently with each individual, as you probably do as well.

"See ya."
"OK. Bye."
"Have a good evening."
"Thanks, you too."
"Talk to you tomorrow."
"Thanks for IM'ing me."
"Glad you were there."

And still both of you leave the window open, pushed to the side a little, to avoid the dreaded "Glenn has left the chat", which seems a little cold and almost insulting.

Imagine a telephone call where neither party is quite sure when the conversation is over. You say your goodbyes, listen a little to see if the other person is really done, say goodbye a few more times, then gently lay the phone down on your table and wait for a half hour or so, and if it stays quiet, you hang it up.

That's what IM is like, and it's just weird. One friend of mine draws a horizontal line with dashes ------------------ as if to say "don't you dare type past this line." Another friend writes "VCD" (for 'via con dios'). Doesn't that mean "goodbye forever?" I'm not quite sure :)

So we fumble along, inventing our own solutions. If you have a suggestion for how this is supposed to be done, or if you think this is already solved and I'm just missing something, add a comment....


SPLASH Kathy said...

I don't have this problem. I generally use: "They're calling me for a meeting now, gotta go." Or, I just don't answer after one round of "thanks," "np." It's time to find your inner ADD and move on!

Heather said...

You, dear Reid, were born a blogger :)

I *so* know what you mean about not knowing how to say goodbye. I used to be really naffy about it - saying goodbye in 5 different languages before I logged off.

Now I just have to get over logging off when someone comes online. I feel really guilty leaving 'the room' as soon as someone arrives.

But now I'm hard core. H is hard core. Listen up, world, H has turned hard.

Now she says goodbye in just 2 languages.

Ok, bye. Hamba kahle. Totsiens.